It seems there are several people using the Trilogy Bass VSTi here that really know what they're doing when it comes to mixing and mastering. I thought I'd throw this question out to you.
I've only really done amateur mixing and mastering here at home. I use Cubase SX 2.2 and have several VSTi including Eric Persing's Trilogy. I LOVE the sound, but, as with the real thing, fitting the bass into my mix and avoiding muddiness or boomy bass is very difficult.
I've been reading up quite a bit on the subject and I've learned about low-shelving freqs below 80-100Hz to avoid competing with the kick drum. Boost or cut around 350-400Hz for added warmth or reduced mud, etc. I've also read up a bit on compression and have tried a little bit, but the bass always seems too much. When I reduce the bass curve in mastering (through Har-Bal or Wavelab) I often lose the nice characteristic of the bass and still get too much whomp on the low end.
I should say, I'm mainly using the Electric Fretless patches (The Jaco and Double Hollow) for that ambient, pop/rock sound made famous by (ulp) Richard Marx in the late '80s. Actually, I'm going more for an Elton John type sound like the one used on his latest album - which sounds a bit similar. A bass that's warm, mellow and has just a bit of fretless sound. I'm a piano/keyboard player, so learning about bass, drum kits and mixing is all relatively new.
If there are any folks who could give me some rough guidelines about EQ cuts/gain, compression, etc using Trilogy, I'd be most grateful. I've even started using the spectrograph in Wavelab to "reverse engineer" acceptable levels from some of the Elton John mixes. My bass seems to fall in the same range, peaking just above -30dB in the 60-120dB range, but I must not be isolating very well, because it just doesn't sound the same!
The catch with all of this is, everything in a mix, is counter
dependent. The way you will treat the bass, really depends
on how your'e treating the kick drum. And the way you're
handling other instruments that live in the 200 to 4 khz range.
You will have things fighting for the same frequency range.
It can depend on the actuall bass line. How busy the line is.
The key the part is in matters as well. Different notes have
different fundamentals. Many times i will automate an eq,
to pull down notes with problematic fundamental.
Or i will reprogram the problem note if possible, using a substitute,
like a 5th or an octave. What ever sits in the mix, or is more
90 percent of the time, you're compressing the bass quite a bit.
But again, you have the same variables. The compresion has to
move with the part. You have to get the attack and release
flowing with the line, and the tempo of the song.
This takes practice.
So basically, i really dont believe there's a single cut or boost
that will help you across the board. I mean, i can pretty much
garantee you that no decent engineer ever duplicates settings
from a previous project or song.
Each project or song, is its own entity, and requires totally individual
Two more suggestions. Make sure you're working with Great monitors!
This really helps.
Try one of the CD instructionals, like Golden Ears. This will help
you hear things you never knew were even there. You'll wish
you did it years ago. I garantee it.
The other thing I'd add is that is often overlooked is your room acoustics. If Trilogy seems too bass heavy or certain notes are very loud, that's likely because your studio has bass "nodes" that falsely emphasize certain bass frequencies. This makes it extremely difficult to get good mixes with the bass in the right placement.
Acoustic treatment goes a long way to getting great mixes with the right amount of bass that translates across different systems.
Thanks so much for the quick replies! There's no doubt that my room is not sonically maximized with bass traps and decent acoustic treatment. The funny thing is that the bass sounds fine on my Event 20/20bas monitors (the low end is a bit thin - although commercial mixes sound good) but is way overblown on home stereo speakers. My problem is trying to get that sweet sounding bass across all platforms (PC speakers, boomboxes, home stereo speakers) that the professional mixes have!
Todd, you've given me a great starting point and I'll definitely check out the "Golden Ears" instructional CD! All of my recent experience in trying to get a more professional mix really makes me appreciate how difficult it is and how great professional mixing and mastering engineers are!